Meeting the Needs of the Gifted Child

Famous Failures
Her family suggested Louisa May Alcott should find work as a servant or a seamstress. An editor told her
she could never write anything with popular appeal.
Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of
improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
Winston Churchill failed sixth grade.
Charles Darwin, who gave up a medical career begun at Edinburgh, was told by his father, "You care for
nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching." In his autobiography, he wrote, "I was considered by all my
masters and by my father as a very ordinary boy, rather below the common standard in intellect."
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of good ideas.
Thomas Edison's teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything.
Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn't read until he was seven. His teacher
described him as "mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams." He was expelled
and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
Carl Jung, who had trouble with math, was considered stupid by his teachers. His concept of himself was
less intelligent, less hardworking, attentive, decent, and cleaner than many of the other boys.
Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies, 15th out of 22 in chemistry.
Rocket scientist Werner Von Braun failed ninth grade Algebra.
F.W. Woolworth's employers at the dry goods store said he had not enough good sense to wait upon
Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school.
Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college.
Abraham Lincoln entered the Black Hawk War as a Captain and came out as a private.
Meeting the
Needs of Gifted
Amanda Jones
At Silverwood School, we challenge our students to become confident, compassionate citizens
and skilled life-long learners – literate, motivated, and intellectually adventurous.
Topics Covered
 Identifying Gifted Traits
 Academic and Emotional Needs
 Teaching Strategies
 Gifted Students at Silverwood
 Tips for Parents
 Parent Resources
Identifying the Young Gifted Child
Frequently reach
'milestones' such as
walking and first speech
earlier than average
Have a strong desire to
explore, investigate, and
master the environment
(opens up cabinets, takes
things apart)
Toys and games mastered
early, then discarded
Very active (but activity
with a purpose, not to be
confused with ADHD)
Can distinguish between
reality and fantasy
(questions about Santa or
the tooth fairy come very
Very observant – notices
things other children of
the same age would miss
Identifying the School-age Gifted
Curious and enjoys
learning new things
Absorb information
rapidly and with less
Excellent memory
Long attention span
Excellent reasoning and
problem solving skills
Intense interests
Unusual and/or vivid
Usually intrinsically
motivated to learn
Interested in philosophical
and social issues
Concerned about fairness
and injustice
Asynchronous development
Well-developed sense of
Prefer books and magazines
meant for older children
Cognitive Traits
of Gifted Learners
Have well-developed powers of
abstraction, conceptualization,
and synthesis
Easily see cause-effect
Quickly see similarities,
differences, and anomalies
Can see relationships among
seemingly unrelated objects,
ideas, or facts
Readily grasp underlying
principles and can often make
valid generalizations about
events, people, or objects
Often attack complicated
material by separating it into
components and analyzing it
Fluent thinking, generating
possibilities, consequences, or
related ideas
Flexible thinking, using many
different alternatives and
approaches to problem solving
Elaborate thinking, producing
new steps, ideas, responses, or
other embellishments to a
basic idea, situation, or
Original thinking, seeking new,
unusual, or unconventional
associations and combinations
among items of information
Skeptical, critical, and
evaluative, making them quick
to spot inconsistencies
Social/Emotional Traits of Gifted
Relate well to parents,
teachers and other adults
Heightened awareness
which can lead to
heightened anxiety
Inability to fit in with
same-age peers
Intolerance toward sameage peers
Exposure to subject
matter beyond what is
Display intellectual
playfulness, which
shows up in a desire to
fantasize and imagine
Very sensitive,
emotionally and even
Missed social cues
Extreme need for
Fear of failure
Teaching Strategies for Gifted
 Building relationships
 Letting Go of "Normal"
 Constructing curriculum based on individual
 Compacting
 Accelerating
 Differentiating
Gifted Learners at Silverwood
Students receive instruction and
guidance in study, research, and
organizational skills; social and
real world application of
learning; critical and creative
thinking skills; and goal setting.
Core curriculum is modified to
allow in-depth explorations.
Students engage in critical
thinking and reasoning abilities
across the curriculum.
We provide an environment that
encourages and fosters inquiry
and challenging attitudes toward
Students develop creativity through
fluency, flexibility, originality,
elaboration, problem-finding, and
problem-solving exercises.
Teachers use students’ strengths
and interests to determine indepth explorations.
Affective needs are addressed
through individual goal setting with
an emphasis on organization and
study skills.
Develop interpersonal skills of
empathy and cooperation through
group work and yearly school-wide,
theme-centered curriculum
How Silverwood Teachers
Students participate in selfassessment, goal setting,
and reflection of goals for
each trimester and in all
core subject areas.
Critical and creative
thinking skills are
developed in all academic
Continuous formative
assessments are given to
develop individualized
Students are placed beyond
grade level for additional
challenge in a variety of
subject areas.
All grade levels participate in
project-based curriculum
that allows for students to
select research subjects
according to interest and
Tips for Parents
Discover Your Child’s Interests
 Create multiple opportunities for your child to
try a variety of activities
 Explore your community. Actively follow the
local newspapers and kid’s directories for
festivals, activities, and classes in the area
 Don’t be afraid to introduce your gifted child to
a subject that you know little about
Tips for Parents
Link Interests to School
 Help your child to see the real-world connection
between curriculum introduced at school and
experiences in everyday life.
 Communicate with your child’s teacher if your
child is passionate about specific topics or is
showing interest in a new subject or event
Tips for Parents
Gifted Underachievers
 Set up an organizational system
 Discuss the difference between effort and
 Use praise sparingly
 Model your own willingness to try difficult
 Discuss with your child someone whom you
admire and that person’s journey
Tips for Parents
Consider Yourself to be Your Child’s Primary
 Take your children on “field trips” to places that will
interest them or engage them higher-level thinking
 Enter your child in competitions and contests
 Participate in a book club with your child and
engage him/her in discussions on character and
 Let your child plan family evenings, meals, or
RELAX and Let Them
be Kids!!
Parent Resources
About Us
SENG is dedicated to fostering environments in which gifted adults and children, in all their
diversity, understand and accept themselves and are understood, valued, nurtured, and supported
by their families, schools, workplaces and communities.
SENG’s mission is to empower families and communities to guide gifted and talented individuals to
reach their goals: intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
SENG envisions a world where gifted, talented and creative individuals are supported to build
gratifying, meaningful lives and contribute to the well-being of others. To this end, SENG reaches out
to diverse communities that share our mission across the nation and the globe.
Parent Resources
Supporting the needs of high-potential learners
An estimated 3,000,000 gifted children sit in classrooms across the U.S. today. Because learning styles and levels vary
widely, the needs of "smart kids" are far too often overlooked in the logical quest to meet minimum standards. But
that begs the question: What is a maximum standard and how can we shift the focus in the U.S.?
For over 50 years, NAGC has worked to increase public awareness about these key questions and to affect positive
The 8,000+ members of NAGC work on behalf of these 3,000,000 students who represent a good portion of the oftheralded "pipeline of talent." Luis J. Rodriguez, an award-winning author and Chicano activist once said "It is not
enough to prepare our children for the world; we also must prepare the world for our children." We owe it to ourselves
and to future generations to help prepare the world of education for gifted students.
Thus, NAGC invests all of its resources to train teachers, encourage parents and educate administrators and
policymakers on how to develop and support gifted children and what's at stake if high-potential learners are not
challenged and encouraged.
Parent Resources
CTY shares with its parent organization, the Johns Hopkins University, a three-part mission of teaching,
research, and service. More specifically, CTY:
Seeks students of the highest academic ability through its talent search and offers them challenging
educational opportunities that develop the intellect, encourage achievement, and nurture social
Conducts research and evaluation studies that advance knowledge about gifted education; develops
best practices in educating highly able children; and disseminates its findings to parents, the education
community, and policymakers.
Supports educators in their efforts to meet the needs of highly able students, assists parents in
advocating for their gifted children, and participates actively in community service.
Parent Resources
What We Do
The Davidson Institute offers much-needed support to profoundly gifted young people through the following
programs and services:
Davidson Fellows scholarships
The Davidson Young Scholars is an individualized, family-oriented program that supports the educational and
developmental needs of profoundly intelligent young people between the ages of 5 and 18.
The THINK Summer Institute is a three-week residential summer program
The Educators Guild is comprised of teachers, counselors and school administrators who are interested in
connecting with colleagues to locate resources and discuss strategies for identifying and serving highly intelligent
The Davidson Gifted Database is the gateway to gifted resources on the Internet. It offers everything parents need
to know about each state’s gifted policies, the latest news and research in gifted education and an events calendar
of conferences throughout the nation – all available free to anyone with access to the Internet.
The Davidson Academy is a free public school licensed by the state of Nevada and is located on the University of
Nevada, Reno campus.
Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting our Bright Young Minds co-authored by Jan and Bob Davidson, with Laura
Vanderkam about the importance of educating our nation’s brightest students.